Learn how to make the best vegan buttercream frosting! It pipes perfectly, needs only 4 ingredients and tastes incredible. Makes 2 1/2 cups or enough for 24 cupcakes or a 8-9 inch layer cake.
A vegan buttercream frosting for all your cupcake and cake decorating needs. Just try not to eat it all by the spoonful; it’s that good! The trick is in the technique and using a quality vegan butter.
I’ve been making a version of this frosting for years but recently perfected it. I’ll teach you everything I know!
Ways to use vegan frosting
There are endless ways to use this frosting, but here are just a few ideas:
- Sandwiched between Oatmeal Cookies or Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Spread onto Sugar Cookies
- Vanilla Cake
- Chocolate Cake
- Lemon Cupcakes
- Vanilla Cupcakes
- Pumpkin Cupcakes
- Funfetti Cupcakes
Ingredients you need
- Vegan butter – This is probably the most important part! Make sure to use a vegan butter you like the flavor of. I think Miyoko’s is best, but recently I discovered Trader Joe’s vegan butter which is equally amazing. Other brands will work, but just know whatever butter you use will determine the flavor. It needs to be softened to room temperature, NOT melted.
- Powdered sugar
- Non-dairy milk – I prefer to use a creamy milk or even vegan creamer, such as soy milk, full fat oat milk, or cashew milk.
- Vanilla extract – Use clear for a very white frosting. I usually just use pure vanilla extract.
How to make vegan buttercream
In a large bowl (I use my stand mixer with paddle attachment), beat the softened butter until smooth.
Gradually add the powdered sugar, a cup at a time, mixing on low then increasing to medium speed.
Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add 2 tablespoons of milk and the vanilla. Beat on medium speed for about 3-4 minutes until well combined, fluffy and creamy. To prevent air bubbles, don’t beat on high speed and don’t use the whisk attachment.
Add a little more milk if needed. If the frosting seems runny, add additional powdered sugar until the desired consistency is reached.
Vegan buttercream variations
You may add vegan friendly food coloring to the frosting, or try any of the following flavor variations:
- Peppermint – Add 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract, like in this Peppermint Mocha Cake. Yum!
- Lemon – Add 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and 1 tablespoon lemon zest, like in my Lemon Cake recipe. Or change it to orange.
- Chocolate – You can make this chocolate buttercream by adding 1/2 cup of sifted cocoa powder when you add the powdered sugar. Add additional milk as needed.
- Caramel – Add 1/2 cup of vegan caramel (or salted vegan caramel). Omit the milk, only use if needed to thin.
- Strawberry or Blueberry – Add a 1-ounce bag of freeze dried strawberries/blueberries to a blender and blend into a fine powder. Mix into the frosting. Check out my Vegan Strawberry Cake!
How to pipe frosting onto cupcakes perfectly
I used to struggle to pipe frosting into perfectly tall swirls on cupcakes, but I figured out a trick that works!
First, get out a large glass and fit your piping bag with a tip. Place the bag in the glass and fold the edges around the cup. Fill with frosting. This is the easiest way to fill a piping bag with frosting!
Place a circle of frosting in the very center of your cupcake.
Now, start on the edge and swirl frosting in a circular motion on your cupcake. You will get tall swirls that don’t sink or become uneven. Easy peasy!
How to store vegan frosting
Make ahead – You can make the frosting up to 2 days in advance and store in the refrigerator. When ready to use, bring it to room temperature and mix well before frosting.
Freeze – It can also be frozen for up to 3 months on a freezer bag or container.
More vegan frostings to love
Vegan Buttercream Frosting
- 1 cup vegan butter, softened to room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons non-dairy milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl with an electric hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Gradually add the powdered sugar, about a cup at a time, and mix starting on low speed gradually increasing to medium, until all the powdered sugar is mixed in.
- Add 2 tablespoons of milk and vanilla and beat on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, until everything is well combined. Scrape the bowl as needed.
- If the frosting seems too thick, you can add more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time. If the frosting is too thin and runny, simply add more powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
- Pipe onto cupcakes, spread on a cake or anywhere else you'd like. Enjoy!
- You can make the frosting up to 2 days in advance. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use, then bring it to room temperature before using. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
- For the best flavor, use a vegan butter that tastes good. I prefer Miyoko’s or Trader Joe’s brand vegan butter. Melt, Earth Balance and others work as well. Use sticks or blocks if you can over the tub butter.
- For best results, use a full fat type plant milk that is creamy. Soy, cashew, coconut or oat milk are all good options.
This recipe was originally published Dec. 2018 and has been republished with new photos and a slightly different recipe, because I learned how to perfect it!